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Tigers drop SEC road opener at No. 7/6 Mississippi State
Jan. 7, 2016

Box Score

(11-4, 1-1)
 Game 15
 #7 Mississippi State

Mississippi St.
(15-1, 2-0)

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Auburn's second-half rally fell short Thursday night as the Tigers fell at No. 7/6 Mississippi State, 60-45, at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Tigers (11-4, 1-1 SEC) trailed by 16 at halftime, but cut that deficit to as few as five points in the second half before Mississippi State (15-1, 2-0) used Auburn turnovers and success at the free-throw line to pull away late.

"You're not going to beat anyone turning the ball over 25 times," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "I could fault them for too many turnovers, especially when we were trying to push in transition, but definitely not the effort. The effort was there. A lot of our turnovers came in our halfcourt offense. We've just got to do a better job taking care of the ball."

Auburn out-shot MSU for the game, shooting 40 percent to MSU's 33, but the Bulldogs connected on five 3-pointers and made 15 free throws while Auburn attempted just five. The Tigers dealt with foul trouble much of the night, with two players fouling out.

Auburn cut a 16-point deficit in half in the third quarter, outscoring MSU 19-11 to trail by just eight at 44-36 headed to the fourth. The Tigers, who had been outrebounded 20-10 in the first half, pulled down 13 boards in the third quarter and held State in single-digits until the closing seconds of the half.

But the Bulldogs pulled away in the closing minutes as the Tigers, with Erica Sanders and Jazmine Jones out of the game, struggled against an aggressive, physical MSU team.

The Bulldogs led 33-17 at halftime. After the teams fought to a 12-12 tie over the first nine minutes, the Tigers went cold over the first seven-plus minutes of the second quarter, allowing MSU to push ahead by double-digits. An Erica Sanders free throw ended the drought at the 2:54 mark, and a pair of Tanner layups provided the rest of Auburn's offense in the second period.

Tra'Cee Tanner led the Tigers with 15 points and seven rebounds, but was the only player in double-figures for Auburn. Jazmine Jones and Brandy Montgomery had eight apiece.

Victoria Vivians had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

Auburn continues a two-game swing in SEC play Sunday afternoon as they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to face 12th-ranked Tennessee. Game time is set for 1 p.m. CT with the national broadcast on ESPNU.

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